Tuesday, 24 July 2012

The Immortals of Meluha by Amish Tripathi - Book Review





Author: Amish Tripathi

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 6/10



Publisher's write-up:



'1900 BC. In what modern Indians mistakenly call the Indus Valley Civilisation.



The inhabitants of that period called it the land of Meluha – a near perfect empire created many centuries earlier by Lord Ram, one of the greatest monarchs that ever lived.



This once proud empire and its Suryavanshi rulers face severe perils as its primary river, the revered Saraswati, is slowly drying to extinction. They also face devastating terrorist attacks from the east, the land of the Chandravanshis. To make matters worse, the Chandravanshis appear to have allied with the Nagas, an ostracised and sinister race of deformed humans with astonishing martial skills.



The only hope for the Suryavanshis is an ancient legend: “When evil reaches epic proportions, when all seems lost, when it appears that your enemies have triumphed. A hero will emerge.”



Is the rough-hewn Tibetan immigrant Shiva, really that hero?



And does he want to be that hero at all?



Drawn suddenly to his destiny, by duty as well as by love, will Shiva lead the Suryavanshi vengeance and destroy evil?



This is the first book in a trilogy on Shiva, the simple man whose karma re-cast him as our Mahadev, the God of Gods.'







The Immortals of Meluha is the first book in the Shiva trilogy, a work of fiction which has become a sensation in India. Shiva is a Hindu god and according to mythology, he is the 'the destroyer of evil' but the author in this story has imagined Shiva to be a common man, leading a tribe at Mount Kailash in Tibet.



Review



Shiva leads the tribe of Gunas in Mount Kailash, where they are having to fight against other tribes everyday for survival, only to retain their possession of the Manasarovar lake. He is a very skilled warrior and is highly respected by his tribesmen. On one fine day, an army officer from the Kingdom of Meluha came up with a strange offer to the Gunas, that is, they could live in Meluha and lead peaceful lives. Meluha is a near perfect kingdom, highly efficient and a prosperous kingdom. Shiva accepts the offer but little did he know that Meluha had their own reason to come up with such a proposal since they were facing terrorist attacks from the enemy kingdom and they needed a saviour and legend had it that a foreigner would come to their rescue when all hope is lost, and the identity of that saviour would be that his throat would turn blue after the intake of somras, known as the food of gods. It so happens that Shiva is that saviour of Meluha, but what could a primitive tribe leader do? Is he ready for the task? Besides, what is the danger that Meluha are facing?



The plot was rather vague in this book, that is, till the end, you don't know what is Shiva's actual task but that doesn't make it boring, by any means. The author is to be appreciated for coming up with this concept, seeing Shiva as a common man, whose good deeds have made him what he is today. The description of the various places in the book was excellent – bringing a clear picture into your mind but what disappointed me was the romantic sub-plot between Shiva and Sati especially during when the Meluhan emperor explains the role of Neelkanth and Shiva just runs off to see her dance. What was more disappointing was the dialogues and the characters; where the dialogue included words like 'goddamnit!', 'in the name of god …' , 'bloody hell', etcetera – very modern usage, not that it is wrong to use such words as the author only tried to connect with the Indian youth but I felt it weird, the kind of setting you visualise and the kind of dialogue that is used. Coming to the characters, they were either 'this' or 'that', that is, there were some who blindly believed in the legend of Neelkanth and others such as General Parvateshwar, who just opposed it and continually screaming 'Jai Shri Ram'. One particular incident in the book even made me feel that the Meluhans lacked moral values, when a particular woman was saved by a Naga (a group of people detested by the Meluhans) from a crocodile but she was still squealing with fright thinking that the Naga was trying to attack her, instead of actually thanking him. From what I read, Shiva was the only person who was a little forward thinking.



 Though the Meluhans claimed that they were a perfect society, I personally believe that they are far from it and some of their systems were absolutely totalitarian. The fact that the place is a monarchy is the first blow and although the monarch doesn't inherit the post, he is only chosen by a select few. The vikarma rule and the Maika system aren't what a person would expect in a perfect society.



Summary



I enjoyed reading the book, to say the least and partially, the reason could be because of the fact that my opinion on any mythological character is the same. Amish Tripathi is definitely a better choice than Chetan Bhagat, if a person is searching for Indian writing in the English language. Regarding the rating, The fact that it had a good story would take it to 6 and it can't come below that, and the concept would take it up to 7 but the poor dialogues and the simple characters would bring it back down to 6 and I hope there is an improvement on these lines in the sequel, The Secret of the Nagas.



Have a nice day,

Andy

2 comments:

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